The Head-Royce School South Campus expansion plan has significant negative impacts on surrounding neighborhoods, the environment, safety and public infrastructure. Basic issues are noted below.  For more detail, read the complete letter submitted to the City of Oakland and the HRS Board of Trustees. 


Public Safety - Fire and Evacuation

The traffic solution in the proposed development plan does nothing to correct the current problem of HRS having no realistic emergency evacuation plan. HRS's problematic traffic management will continue preventing evacuation for residents above and around the school's properties.

Vulnerabilities to Land and People
The expansion plan causes significant problems for adjacent and nearby neighbors due to its increasing chances of landslides, flooding, disturbances from the circulation perimeter road, noise, placement of a massive structure next to housing, and opening access points from the neighborhood into the South Campus.

Habitat and Native Trees
The development of the South Campus will impact wildlife in the Oakland hills, including bird habitat and native trees; it also would remove much needed residential housing that presently exists on the South Campus.

Lack of Transparency
HRS has not been transparent with the neighborhood regarding its proposed expansion plan, despite its repeated promises to do better in this regard with neighborhood relations.

Enrollment Increase
The current enrollment of 884 students, without the addition of 350 more as referenced in the development plan, is already too high. Enrollment is overwhelming the public infrastructure surrounding the neighborhood and is constantly causing nuisance problems for the residents.

 

Road Building

The solution proposed in the master plan, i.e., building a perimeter road, is very inconvenient for parents dropping off and picking up their children, no doubt resulting in their leaving and picking up their children on Lincoln Avenue or in the neighborhood.

 


Environmental Impact Report

For the Head-Royce expansion project, the City of Oakland's Bureau of Planning entered the process of drafting an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on June 7, 2019. By statute, HRS must follow the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process to obtain final project approval from the City of Oakland.

As of June 30, 2021, the City has not released the Draft EIR for public review and comment.

The City of Oakland Planning Department solicited input from the public about what should be included in the EIR. (Read the Notice of Preparation (NOP) of Draft EIR issued February 1, 2019)
 
City Planners sought comments and questions from residents of Oakland neighborhoods and commuters about what they see as potential impacts of the project on the physical environment - including topics such as traffic, fire safety, trees, biology, geology, hydrology, construction process duration and equipment, and other areas of environmental concern. The City encouraged submission of ideas for minimizing adverse effects from the eight-acre development and proposed increase in school enrollment from the current level of 906 students to 1,250 students.


HRS' plan includes:


    • grading, earthwork and tree removal
    • building demolition and new construction
    • a 15,900 square foot Performing Arts Center with 450 seats
    • interim housing for faculty and staff
    • construction of an internal road along the perimeter of the property within feet of neighboring houses
    • a tunnel under Lincoln Avenue to link the two campuses
    • adding another stoplight on Lincoln Avenue, and the addition of 61 on-site parking spaces.
    • reconfiguration of lanes on Lincoln Avenue to accommodate left turns

Two public meetings were held regarding the Draft EIR. The first was on February 20, 2019 in front of the City of Oakland Planning Commission. The second was held on March 11, 2019 before the City of Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory board.


Read more details on the Preliminary HRS Development Plan submitted to the City, December 2018.




Neighbors First Look at the Proposed Expansion Plan

 On April 25, 2018, neighbors who attended a community meeting hosted by HRS saw for the first time some of the school's vision for development of 8 acres of property on the south side of Lincoln Ave. Though the plan addressed some issues of concern expressed by neighbors, many questions were raised by the proposed development's close proximity to homes, and unknown environmental, noise and traffic impacts. Response to those questions has not been received by the NSC. Below are three highlight slides from the community meeting.



 

HRS North and South Campus



Existing and Proposed Buildings


 

Traffic and Parking, Drop-Off and Pick-Up



Previous Developments

Head-Royce purchased a number of residential properties in the neighborhood. In January 2018, at the request of HRS, the City of Oakland granted a permit for HRS to lease an empty field on Lincoln Avenue for school sports activities. That field abuts residential backyards. The NSC and the neighbors most impacted objected to the school's requested use of the field 12 hours a day on weekdays and additional time on weekends with no provision for a sound wall. While the City approved a permit allowing HRS to use the field, the City imposed a shorter time period for use of the field and imposed conditions on its use.   

Ability Now Use Permit issued by the City of Oakland on January 22, 2018 >>

Head Royce Use Permit issued by the City of Oakland on January 22, 2018 >>